If you’ve been injured in an accident due to someone else’s neglect, consider contacting a reputable personal injury attorney soon after the accident. You should discover your rights and options before you give any written or recorded statements to an insurance company–even your own.
If you have been hurt, the sooner you speak with an injury attorney, the better.
Why should you talk with a personal injury attorney before speaking with an adjuster?
Often, insurance company adjusters have been trained to inquire into areas solely to find ammunition to defend your claim. The insurance adjuster will ask information such as:
- Have you ever made an injury claim before?
- What injuries do you claim?
- Have you ever had an injury before?
- Have you ever made a worker’s compensation claim?
- Have you ever been in another car accident?
- When did you first see…?
- What evasive actions did you take?
- Did you have your seat belt on?
- How far away was the other vehicle when you first saw it?
You get the idea. The insurance company is not looking at what happened in the accident, what are your injuries as much as they are looking for responses to make you look bad. Or worse, to blame part of the crash on you!
When the adjuster starts trying to defend the claim by questions–designed to shift the blame or minimize your damages, you can see where the matter is headed.
The more serious the accident, the more critical it is that you contact an experienced auto accident lawyer soon.
The adjuster asks for a full medical release
Another tactic an insurance adjuster uses to get you to sign an unlimited medical release. The release may allow them to access all of your prior medical treatment. Even when it is remote, personal, or totally irrelevant. And may also allow the insurance company to speak to your doctors.
While the insurer will be entitled to relevant medical records, the best practice is to hire an attorney and let the attorney get and deal with the files. Or obtain the records of your injury treatment yourself and give them to the adjuster.
Will evidence getaway if you wait?
Another reason contacting personal injury attorneys is a good idea early on is that evidence can disappear if the victim does not try to preserve the evidence. Witnesses can move and even change their story once approached by the insurance company. One common occurrence is the at-fault driver who was “sorry” at the scene, now contends he was not at fault.
Some cases do not require an attorney!
Sometimes, families can very resolve the matter with an insurance company even when it’s an adverse insurance company. A minor accident with only a check out by emergency room with no follow-up treatment needed is one example. However, an injury case with significant medical expenses or lasting damages is probably not one such situation.
Frequently we are contacted by innocent victims who have attempted to handle the case themselves, only to discover that they have hit a brick wall with the insurance company. Often, we cannot assist the family because of the age or because of actions taken by the family when they tried to handle the climb themselves. If you’ve been injured, find a serious lawyer. Do not delay.
Insurance companies rarely treat folks who are unrepresented the same as those with a reputable attorney. At the minimum, consider taking advantage of a free consultation with a qualified accident attorney.